Back to Bannerman Road for one final, sadly truncated, series of Sarah Jane Adventures. I’ll cherish these last six episodes, as I’m dreading the moment when these adventures come to a premature end. These are precious opportunities to see this brilliant character one last time, and the series kicks off with a particularly strong story for Elisabeth Sladen, thriving with big speeches about death and morality.
With Luke still only appearing via Skype, Sarah Jane’s role has been much less maternal than it was in the early days, and the gang are a member down, so it was high time for a new “companion”. This time it’s a lot less simple than a new family moving in, with shades of River Song in the way Sky was bred to be a killer. Also, her rapidly getting older within her first appearance was almost like an extreme twist on the way we were introduced to Amy Pond.
Even by the end of the episode, she’s still a lot younger than the other two kids, which promises for an interesting dynamic. All the young characters so far have been peers, but Sky seems even younger than they all were when they first appeared, let alone now. Her skipping straight to adolescence obviously gives her similar characteristics to a young Luke, but her constant “what is X?” questions started to get a little annoying even in the space of one episode. Her power of scrambling electronics with her mind could come in handy though.
Sky was of course central to the plot of her introductory episode, and I liked the backstory about the Fleshkind vs the Metalkind – a morally ambiguous conflict that gave Sarah Jane the opportunity for her aforementioned big speeches. There’s not many shows that would combine the shutting down of a nuclear reactor and a lesson about the colours of the spectrum to form its action-packed finale, but it feels like exactly the sort of thing a Doctor Who spin-off for kids should be doing. It was mightily convenient that the resultant reaction unexpectedly turned Sky into a normal girl, with absolutely no ill-effects, but ho hum.
I’m looking forward to seeing Sky become part of the team, but there’s a rather obvious shadow hanging over this series. It’s so sad; plans are being made, pieces put into place to be paid off later on, and then it all had to be cut short. There’s an intriguing bit at the end when Captain Parrot and the mysterious shopkeeper turn up again, and Sarah Jane says we’ll find out who they really are in good time. But I worry that we won’t, nor will we find out more about how Sky ended up here, or see her relationship with Sarah Jane really develop. It’s a constant nagging reminder that the end is nigh, and I really don’t want it to be.